ALGIERS, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Algeria's parliamentary election, held after the country's recent upheaval, concluded Thursday after proceeding smoothly with a higher voter turnout than in recent years, and international observers acknowledged the voting process was basically normal.
The turnout was 44.38 percent, or 42.90 percent if counting ballots from Algerian nationals abroad, much higher than an estimated 35 percent in 2007, which reflects the public's rising concern about politics in the country.
From 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Algerians headed to 48,546 polling stations in the 48 provinces to cast their votes and choose their 462 parliamentary representatives. The initial results are expected to be released Friday morning.
Some top figures in the country cast their votes early Thursday in capital Algiers, including President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, who is also secretary general of the National Democratic Rally (RND), and Bouguerra Soltani, head of the Islamist Movement of Society for Peace (MSP), as well as Workers Party (PT) Secretary General Louisa Hanoune.
Bouteflika voted at a primary school near his residence in El Biar suburb, in upper Algiers.
Hanoune told reporters Thursday that she hoped "the parliamentary election would be a positive turning (point) for a new and real democratic era."
Soltani, whose party is one of the three Islamist groups that form the Green Algeria Alliance and are running in this election with unified lists, told reporters Thursday that the election is "exceptional" given that it was held after an upheaval in the country and the region.
As many as 60,000 police officers have been called upon to secure this election. In the capital city of Algiers, police officers were seen everywhere.
The parliamentary election was held in "generally satisfactory conditions" except for some small incidents, said chief of the European Union observers' delegation, Jose Ignacio Salafranca, Thursday night, who visited a couple of polling stations in Algiers.
"Everything is running normally and peacefully, for the moment. There has been nothing special; no major incidents; the monitoring teams have been deployed, and the electoral process is running smoothly. The citizens can vote freely, and the means are available," he told reporters in the St. Elizabeth high school, in upper Algiers.
Algeria has invited about 500 foreign monitors to supervise the parliamentary election, plus two local monitoring commissions, namely the National Independent Commission for Elections Monitoring (CNISEL), which is composed of representatives of political parties, and the National Independent Commission of the Supervision of the Legislative Elections (CNES), which embraces magistrates.
CNISEL head Mohamed Seddiki said more than 150 complaints have been filed by the monitoring subcommissions in different provinces, while CNES chief Slimane Boudi said that 10 complaints have been referred to the courts of justice.
A total of 44 political parties and 186 independent lists ran in the election, with a total of 24,916 candidates, including 7,700 women.